It’s official. I’ve lost count. I vowed I would go poo-free for thirty days. They say (whoever they are…) it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. It’s been at least that long. So now I’m kind of used to the poo- free lifestyle. I realize my hair will never be glamorous. But it never WAS glamorous to begin with! No big loss.
So thirty days into this experiment (not that I’m counting) here’s the breakdown of what you can expect, should embark on the no poo journey, too. After your first mental breakdown, (and possibly a second one) you will start to see some changes. All good things take time. Basically what happens is, your hair must undergo healing from years and years of damage. You will notice when you stop the shampoo routine, your hair will feel incredibly dry or “rough.”
There’s a good reason this happens, and it doesn’t last forever.
You see, when you stop shampooing with harsh chemicals, you are no longer stripping your hair of much needed vitamins and nutrients. That’s good, right? Likewise, when you stop conditioner, you stop accumulating build-up from the silicones that the conditioner coats your hair with. Also good, right? Then why does poo-free hair feel so coarse? The truth is, while your hair might have felt soft and silky with traditional products, it wasn’t your true hair you were feeling. It was an artificial softness from the silicone film that was covering up your shampoo- damaged hair. Conditioner doesn’t repair the shampoo damage to your hair, it merely puts a band-aid on it. When you go poo-free, all that built up conditioner washes out, and you are left with your real hair. And it is really damaged.
And yes, it will feel as damaged as it looks. During this time, your hair will not fall softly on your shoulders. It will not hold a shape. Your ponytail will be like like straw. You will be able to run your fingers through it, but you will hate what you feel. This is where the first breakdown usually occurs. Things have to get worse before they can get better. Only once all that silicone slime washes off your hair shaft, can your body’s natural oils start their repairs.
Once that nasty silicone film is gone, your hair will begin to retain the much needed vitamins, nutrients and (most importantly) moisture it desperately needs. At this point, it’s up to you how you want to proceed. Some people use baking soda to wash and apple cider vinegar to rinse. Others find the baking soda is a bit harsh, so they use honey as a rinse, because it attracts moisture. For right now, I’m just using water, because my hair has only just started healing. I want to see how water-washing goes. I have already seen significant difference in the color, vibrance, sleek and shine. The straw has started to relax. There is a light at the end of this tunnel!
And there are other benefits to No Poo, besides being chemical free!
Nowadays, I’m loving how much shorter showers can be!!! When I’m in a hurry, I can just wet my head and go. Back in my shampoo days (don’t you love how I phrased that? As if it was 20 years ago…) wet hair would totally stress me out! On the flip side, having to shampoo & condition would stress me out. It was such a process… not to mention all the hair on the shower wall… Oh c’mon ladies, I know you do it, too!!
Now that I’ve quit shampoo, I barely have 15 strands of hair stuck in between my fingers. That’s amazing!!! My hair is substantially thicker, and there is MUCH less to pull out of the shower drain! My ponytail is noticeably more full, as is my hair’s natural texture. I had no idea! I’ve had fake hair all these years- and I’m not just talking about the color.
Nevertheless, there is an adjustment period to No Poo. You can read more about my first detox days here. It wasn’t pretty. It was like rehab for shampoo addiction. Not kidding. I almost needed a straightjacket.
And then, there was yesterday. Ahhhhhhh, yesterday!!!! Like rays of golden sunshine after the storm. Like the promise of a new day. The breakthrough had come! I actually LIKED my new hair!!!
That’s when it hit me.
No Poo is far more than just a transition for my hair. It’s a transition to being unafraid. To being MYSELF. To receiving healing
I’m not trying to philosophize too deeply (ok, so this might get deep,) but we have all spent years chasing after the ideals of a beautiful life. We buy products, we try tinctures, we spend thousands of dollars on wardrobes, skincare and salons. For what? To look like something other than who we naturally are. Why are we so afraid of being ourselves? I will never have gorgeous, salon-styled hair. Or a closet full of fashionable designer clothes. Or live in a model home. And at the end of the day, if that’s all anyone remembers of me, then I will have lived my life all wrong anyways.
For me, No Poo has been a journey of breaking free.
After all, to continue the metaphor, don’t we all “shampoo” our lives? By striving to meet society’s expectations, we unintentionally strip away everything that is good and wholesome in life and cover up the damage with artificial happiness. We run after education, jobs, money, and power while we sacrifice God, children, family, friends… self. We mask this disparity with social engagements, furnishings, vacations, and business. But underneath that false veneer, we are cracked and worn. Frail and weak. Damaged.
We need to strip away all that veneer in order to heal. We must bring ourselves to a place where we can retain nourishment, specifically from God’s word. As we enter a state where our natural self is raw and exposed, God will smooth out the rough places. He will heal our wounds. And we will start to see our natural shine return. There will be bounce in our steps. There will be joy in our families, radiance on our children’s faces. Our lives will be full of luster. We will have a natural sheen that the world can not understand. Because it is still artificially “shampooing” itself to death.
In everything we do. In everything in life, there is a lesson to learn. All we need to do is open our eyes and truly see. The truth lies all around us!!!
Even in an empty bottle of shampoo.
An that, is my Poo-Free Philosophy.